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The MIND Diet for Brain Health, Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Updated: May 7

Nuts olive oil brain health

The MIND diet was designed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (anti-hypertensive) diets. The name MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.


The diet emphasises foods that are anti-inflammatory, rich in polyphenols, vitamins and other nutrients that are beneficial for brain health. These include:

  • Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread are good sources of fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins.

  • Berries that are packed with polyphenols, including anthocyanins. These help to reduce oxidative stress, which can damage brain cells.

  • Nuts that are brain-healthy due to their high content of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. These are good sources of vitamins C, K, and folate.

  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes are also good for brain health. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to keep the brain healthy.

  • Olive oil is a healthy fat, rich in polyphenols.

  • Poultry and oily fish are good sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

While not specifically mentioned in the MIND diet studies, the traditional Mediterranean diet features fresh and dried herbs. Rich in polyphenols, herbs are considered as providing neuroprotective benefits.

The MIND diet also limits foods that are thought to be harmful to brain health. These foods include:

  • Red meat which is high in saturated fat and can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. These conditions are risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

  • Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs that are high in sodium and unhealthy fats. These foods can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Full-fat dairy products such as cheese and whole milk are high in saturated fat. These foods can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Sweets and sugar sweetened beverages that are high in sugar, which can damage brain cells. They can also lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.


The MIND diet is a healthy and delicious way to protect your brain health. It is easy to follow and can be adapted to fit your individual needs. Here are some recommendations for the weekly shopping list and eating plan:

  • Leafy green vegetables, at least 6 servings per week

  • Other vegetables, at least 1 serving per day

  • Whole grains, at least 3 servings per day

  • Berries, at least 2 servings per week. Frozen berries are a great option if fresh are hard to come by.

  • Fish, 1 serving per week. Focus on oily fish like sardines or mackerel.

  • Poultry, 2 servings per week. Avoid eat fried food if possible.

  • Beans, 3 servings per week

  • Nuts, 5 servings per week. Enjoy raw nuts, not salted, baked or roasted.

  • Olive oil. This is healthy but also calorific so watch the quantity if you are trying to lose weight.

  • Wine, 1 small glass per day*

*New research shows that even small amounts of alcohol can be bad for brain health, however, some long lived people with active and low alcohol lifestyles and healthy diets seem to do just fine. (read more about life in The Blue Zones)

While the diet is based on the Mediterranean diet, if you prefer other flavour profiles how could you adapt the MIND diet to local produce, tastes and recipes? A similar question was posed for the anti-hypertensive (Mediterranean based) DASH diet when it was adapted and put into practice in a multi-city study in China, the China Heart Healthy study.


In addition to following the MIND diet, there are other things you can do to support your brain health. These include staying physically active, getting enough sleep, managing stress, learning new skills and having an active social life.

If you have any concerns about your health or are under treatment, please talk to your doctor or medical practitioner most familiar with your medical history before implementing any changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle.

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Related Studies

Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, Sacks FM, Bennett DA, Aggarwal NT. MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Sep;11(9):1007-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.11.009. Epub 2015 Feb 11. PMID: 25681666; PMCID: PMC4532650.

Note: Morris et al designed the MIND Diet

Domínguez-López I, López-Yerena A, Vallverdú-Queralt A, Pallàs M, Lamuela-Raventós RM, Pérez M. From the gut to the brain: the long journey of phenolic compounds with neurocognitive effects. Nutr Rev. 2024 Apr 30:nuae034. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuae034. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38687609.

McEvoy CT, Jennings A, Steves CJ, Macgregor A, Spector T, Cassidy A. Diet patterns and cognitive performance in a UK Female Twin Registry (TwinsUK). Alzheimers Res Ther. 2024 Jan 23;16(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s13195-024-01387-x. PMID: 38263271; PMCID: PMC10804649.

Chen H, Dhana K, Huang Y, et al. Association of the Mediterranean Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diet With the Risk of Dementia. JAMA Psychiatry. 2023;80(6):630–638. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2023.0800

Melo van Lent D, O'Donnell A, Beiser AS, Vasan RS, DeCarli CS, Scarmeas N, Wagner M, Jacques PF, Seshadri S, Himali JJ, Pase MP. Mind Diet Adherence and Cognitive Performance in the Framingham Heart Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;82(2):827-839. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201238. PMID: 34092629.

van den Brink AC, Brouwer-Brolsma EM, Berendsen AAM, van de Rest O. The Mediterranean, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diets Are Associated with Less Cognitive Decline and a Lower Risk of Alzheimer's Disease-A Review. Adv Nutr. 2019 Nov 1;10(6):1040-1065. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz054. PMID: 31209456; PMCID: PMC6855954.


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